Archimedes Trajano

Archimedes Trajano was a student at the Mapua Institute of Technology (Philippines). On August 31, 1977, then 21-year-old Archimedes attended a students’ forum where the dictator Marcos’s elder daughter Imee Marcos was speaker.

Evelio Javier #bayani

At the age of 29, Evelio B. Javier became the youngest provincial governor in the country.

Throughout martial law, he steadfastly maintained his political independence from the Marcos regime. This cost him his life. On February 11, 1986, five days after the snap presidential elections, he was killed in broad daylight near the capitol where the election returns where being canvassed and tallied. Eleven days later, the nation rose in outrage over the abusive and corrupt Marcos government and ousted the dictator.

Lino Brocka #bayani

Lino Brocka is regarded as one of the Philippines' most influential film and stage directors.

Our Statement on the Draft Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020

Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation stands with those who oppose a proposed law that could be used against citizens, critics, activists, and organizations, violating our rights to free speech, and against illegal arrest and unreasonable searches and seizures. The Foundation rejects all policies that normalize and legalize abuses perpetrated by government against its own people.

“(We) challenged a dictator and all the evils his regime had stood for: repression of civil liberties and trampling on of human rights. We set up a popular government, restored its honored institutions, and crafted a democratic constitution that rests on the guideposts of peace and freedom,” the late Supreme Court associate justice Abraham Sarmiento had written in 1990.

That Constitution he speaks of, which embodies the lessons we learned under years of the Marcos dictatorship, provides that --

  • No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances. (Section 4)

  • The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. (Section 7)

We speak today in behalf of those heroes and martyrs we honor, as well as the nameless and faceless ones still unrecognized who risked everything they had to resist the tyrannical rule of the Marcos dictatorship. They dreamed and hoped for a country with freedom and justice for its citizens. Let us not forget their sacrifices. Let us put the lessons of history to use. Let us not allow our rights to be suppressed all over again.

For the Board of Trustees
June 6, 2020

A Letter to the Filipino Youth of Today (Jovito Salonga, 2005)

Reposted from the maiden issue of Living News and Good Education. June 1, 2005, a fortnightly publication for teachers and students in Philippine public high schools.

This letter, which can easily be translated into Filipino, is written in simple, basic English so many who read it can understand it.

You will probably ask me— who are included among the "Filipino youth?" And by what right do you presume to speak to the youth of the land? The Oxford Dictionary says youth is "the period between childhood and maturity. " Other dictionaries have similar definitions. But this particular letter is addressed to high school and college students up to age 40 and fellow Filipinos in remote villages who did not have the fortune of studying beyond elementary level and have not reached age 40.

I am your elder, frequently called "a senior citizen," and about to reach 85 during this month of June 2005. I was born in Pasig, Rizal. I was a young man of 21— a senior student at the U.P College of Law—when Japanese planes suddenly arrived around noon of December 8, 1941, and bombed Clark Field Airbase in Pampanga and other U.S. military installations, such as Nichols Field, Cavite Naval Base and Camp John Hay in Baguio, where Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon was then vacationing. Classes were suspended indefinitely.

Later, Japanese troops landed in Lingayen, Pangasinan, and in several places in Luzon. Filipino-American troops in those places fought back but had to retreat to Bataan and Corregidor. On December 26, 1941, Manila was declared an open city, which means the Japanese could enter freely without armed resistance. On January 2, 1942, Japanese officers and soldiers were swarming around Manila and surrounding areas, such as Pasig and Marikina. Because of the abuses committed by the enemy, especially against Filipino women and children, I went underground and joined the fight against Japan. During the Holy Week of 1942, I was captured by the Japanese military police (kempeitai), was tortured, jailed in Pasig, then to Fort Santiago, transferred to the City Jail on San Marcelino, then to the Old Bilibid on Azcarraga, and eventually sentenced by the Japanese military tribunal to a prison term of 15 years of hard labor. By a stroke of good luck, I was released from Muntinglupa one year later (1941) on the occasion of kigen setsu the Foundation Day of Japan. In 1944, I was allowed by the Supreme Court to take the bar examination and I passed it with a good rating. I joined the guerrillas in Rizal. US forces landed in Leyte; in the second week of January 1945, they landed in Lingayen, Pangasinan and Manila was liberated by American GIs, guided by Filipino guerrillas, in February 1945. Other places were also liberated in quick succession. The atomic bomb was dropped by US Air Force on 2 Japanese cities: Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Japan surrendered to the US in August 1945.

I practiced and taught law, was appointed Dean of Law of FEU, was elected Congressman representing the 2nd district of Rizal in November 1961 and was elected to the Senate in 1965, 1971 and 1987. A brief summary of my bio-data is found in the footnote below. I humbly believe I have earned the right to write this letter to you.

There are three points I would like you to remember:

The main problems of Philippine Society, in my view, are massive poverty, rampant corruption, and uncontrolled criminality. They are interrelated. Our grinding poverty, the result of the concentration of too much wealth and power in the hands of a few — the so-called elite leads to graft and corruption, a double standard of justice (one standard of justice for the poor and another standard of justice for the rich) and ever rising criminality. Thefts, robberies, drug addiction, murders and assassinations are what we see and read in the media everyday. There are flaws in our cultural traits, such as utang na loob, pakikisama, the kanya-kanya syndrome and a lack of sense of community that tend to worsen the twin problems of corruption and criminality.

In a sense, poverty has been with us since the Spanish colonization -- it continued during the half-century of American occupation, which also saw the rise in our population growth. But what we witness today, apart from the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the elite, is the never ending migration from the rural areas that began in the late 50's, and continue to jack up the number of slum dwellers and squatters in Metro Manila and the nearby provinces and in such cities as Cebu, Iloilo, Davao and Cagayan de Oro. Our high officials, fearful of the stand of the Catholic Church against family planning through artificial methods, cannot seem to agree on what should be done with our rapid population growth. But the point may soon come when the aggrieved and the disinherited may constitute the majority of the population in the cities and the urban areas. It may then be difficult to ignore their pleas for a radical change in society.

Second, my generation, led by Ferdinand Marcos in 1965, and the generations that succeeded us, particularly the one led by Joseph "Erap" Estrada in 1998, have only complicated the unsolved problems of Philippine society. The EDSA I revolution of 1986 and the EDSA II event of 2001 gave rise to expectations that have not been fulfilled.

I repose my hope in the youth of today who now have the chance to answer the question and invitation of Jose Rizal, our national hero:

“Where are the youth who will dedicate their innocence, their idealism, their enthusiasm to the good of the country? Where are they who will give generously of their blood to wash away so much shame crime and abomination? Pure and immaculate must the victim be for the sacrifice to be acceptable. Where are you, young men and young women, who are to embody in yourselves the life -force that has been drained from our veins, the pure ideals that have grown stained in our minds, the fiery enthusiasm that has been quenched in our hearts? We await you, come, for we await you. "

From Rizal's El Filibusterismo
English Translation by Leon Ma. Guerrero

Third, throughout our history, it is the youth that has led our people in our struggle for freedom. Jose Rizal, at 26, wrote his first novel Noli me Tangere, Marcelo del Pilar helped lead the Propaganda Movement at 32; Andres Bonifacio led the Katipunan at 26; Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo was 29 when he was inaugurated First President of the Philippine Republic; Apolinario Mabini, the brains of the Revolution, was 34; Antonio Luna was General at 29; Gregorio del Pilar gave his life for his country at 24.

Under American administration, the youth led the nation in our parliamentary struggle for independence. Sergio Osmena was Speaker of the House at 29; Manuel L. Quezon was Resident Commissioner in Washington, D.C. at 32; Jose P. Laurel was Secretary of Interior at 32; Manuel A. Roxas was Speaker of the House at 29.

During the dark years of the Japanese occupation, many young men and women in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao joined the resistance movement against the invader. When Marcos declared martial law; the cream of the nation's youth went underground and gave their all for the sake of freedom and democracy. Many died without seeing the dawn of freedom.

Jesus Christ and his twelve disciples, mostly obscure, unlettered fishermen, were all young men in their early 30s, who left their fishing nets to become fishers of men. Those who succeeded them were also in the prime of youth when they heard God's call. History records that in the course ot time, they shook the Roman Empire and turned the world upside down.

Today, the challenge is for the youth of this nation, beset by the worsening problems of poverty, corruption and criminality, to consecrate their lives to a cause bigger than themselves, to ''dream the impossible dream” and "reach the unreachable star.”

Kung Tuyo Na Ang Luha Mo, Aking Bayan

"May araw ding ang luha mo’y masasaid, matutuyo.”

Filipinos from different walks of life commemorate this year’s Independence Day with Amado V. Hernandez’ “Kung Tuyo Na Ang Luha Mo, Aking Bayan.”

Amado V. Hernandez was a journalist, writer and poet. He wrote this poem from prison.

Museo Ng Bantayog

Bantayog Museo Online

Edsa Anniversary


We Honor Our Heroes; We Do Not Demean Their Memory

Of those named in the military’s recent propaganda campaign against “terrorists,” four have been honored in various times by the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation, namely:

  1. Purificacion Pedro, a social worker and church worker who in 1977 is suspected to have been tortured to death by intelligence agents inside her hospital room in Bataan

  2. Ishmael Quimpo Jr., student activist who joined the armed resistance, and in 1981 was killed in Nueva Ecija by a “comrade” who changed sides and became a military asset

  3. Behn Cervantes, multi-awarded film and theater director, taken to jail for his critical stance against the Marcos regime’s abuses, died in 2013 from diabetes complications; and

  4. Ma. Lorena Barros, a teacher and feminist leader, one of the most recognized young leaders in the anti-dictatorship resistance, imprisoned for a year, in 1976 was captured again in Quezon and was executed.

Bantayog counts them as among the heroes and martyrs of the Filipino people against dictatorship. For them to be used in the government campaign against terrorism is to demean their memory and belittle their heroism.

These individuals are among the best examples from that generation that suffered under a dictatorship but refused to suffer it willingly. They resisted it. They put their safety and their family’s safety on the line. They fought the dictator. They gambled with their lives for a dreamed-of future that would give the country freedom, justice, democracy and sovereignty.

It is ironic that if we do reopen the pages of history, it is the Marcos-led military that terrorized the population, jailed members of the opposition, abducted or murdered local leaders, burned houses, tortured prisoners and raped women. These terroristic acts can all be found in reams of documentation painstakingly collected by human rights activists during that time; recorded in thousands of written affidavits now in government keeping; and cited even in law under Republic Act 10368 as basis for granting government compensation to victims of that regime.

This anti-terrorist propaganda offensive was launched on the eve of the scheduled oral arguments at the Supreme Court over the Anti-Terrorism Act. If the mistaken labels and libelous memes are meant to promote this law, they merely reveal how the bitter lessons of our history have not been learned.

The Anti-Terrorism Law will totally obfuscate again the reasons why dissatisfied and desperate citizens resort to bold protests. It is a law that will not bring about harmony; instead disharmony. It will not create peace; instead greater disorder. It will lead to iron rule. It will lead to a repeat of the past.

Our Bantayog heroes teach us a powerful lesson they had paid for with their lives, that Filipinos will fight for their freedom. If we still do not get this, if we let this oppressive law operate, if we let our heroes be called “terrorists,” if we do not jealously guard our rights as citizens, I fear we are headed towards another dark period in our history. #

Wigberto Tañada
Chair, Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation Inc.
February 15, 2021

Additional signatories:
  • Representatives of the family of the late Behn Cervantes, through niece Rosario Juan

  • Representatives of the family of the late Purificacion Pedro

  • From the Quimpo family --
    Elizabeth Q. Bulatao
    Norman F. Quimpo
    Emilie Mae Q. Wickett
    Catherine Q. Castañeda
    Lillian Q. Walsh
    Nathan Gilbert Quimpo
    Ryan F. Quimpo
    George F. Chiu
    Sarita Quimpo Chiu
    Adriana Quimpo Chiu
    Bernardita A. Quimpo
    Maria Cristina P. Bawagan

Never Rest Your Case

"DOMINGO-VIERNES. The family and friends of these two assassinated Fil-ams never rested their case. They succeeded in proving, step by step, detail by detail, that the Marcos regime was the mastermind in the killing. I post this today because, over my breakfast table, I read again of another dastardly, cowardly killing of a supporter of Left groups, a barangay official no less in Bohol province. We may not find justice today under this monstrous regime. But we must dig the facts and document them, because we will have our day."

May Rodriguez

Journalist, freelance editor, and current Executive Director of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation, Inc.

Political Detainees in the Philippines (Book, 1976)

This iconic 128-page little book, published in 1976 by the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines, destroyed the benevolent image that the dictator Ferdinand Marcos had sought to paint about his rule.

It identified at least 36 detention centers across the country where political prisoners were being kept and tortured. Whenever possible, it provided the number of prisoners in these detention camps, including the number of detained nursing mothers and babies. It provided grisly accounts of torture and execution, accompanied with photos and doctor’s certificates.

The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), the courageous group under the AMRSP that was responsible for its preparation, called it the "black book" not only for its powerful black cover but for the darkness and human suffering documented inside its pages, all instigated by the dictatorship forces. The book presents three case studies, one of which is that of the unfortunate 25-year-old Fortunato Bayotlang, of Davao City, found tortured to death.

The book is accessible at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani library.

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